Facts about this animal
The blue duck,or whio, is a unique threatened species of waterfowl endemic to New Zealand. It is believed to have appeared at a very early stage in evolutionary history and the species’ isolation in New Zealand has resulted in it acquiring a number of unique anatomical and behavioural features. It has, therefore, been designated a genus of its own and has no close relative anywhere in the world.
The whio is a medium-sized dabbling duck, about 53 cm long, the male with a body-weight of about 900 g, the female of about 750 g.
Bouldery rivers and streams within forested catchments which provide high water quality, low sediment loadings, stable banks and abundant and diverse invertebrate communities provide the habitat fir blue ducks. With such habitat requirements, blue duck are key indicators of river system health. The higher the number of breeding pairs of blue duck on a given stretch of river, the greater the life supporting capacity of that river.
The whio’s food consists of insects, grubs and caddis fly larvae caught around boulders in the rapids.
Did you know?
that the blue duck is unique in various respects? It is unique to New Zealand, it appears unrelated to any duck elsewhere in the world and many of its habits are peculiar to the species, e.g., whereas most ducks eat plant material, the blue duck feeds on aquatic insects. In almost all ducks the male takes no part in raising the brood and may mate with a different duck each year but the male blue duck helps guard the ducklings and probably keeps the same mate.
|Name (Scientific)||Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos|
|Name (English)||Blue Duck|
|Name (French)||Canard bleu|
|Name (Spanish)||Pato azul|
|Local names||Maori: Whio|
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
Photo Copyright by
Andrew Mc Millan
|Habitat||Rivers of medium to steep gradients with partial forest cover overhead, and vegetation to the water's edge|
|Wild population||Approx. 2'000-2'400|
|Zoo population||6 reported to ISIS (2006)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
Find this animal on ZooLex
Photo Copyright by
Why do zoos keep this animal
The blue duck is endangered in the wild. Therefore, zoos in New Zealand keep blue ducks primarily to create awareness of the plight of the species, to build up an ex situ
reserve population and to produce birds for release to the wild programmes. The species is not kept by zoos outside the range country.